Sunday night polyphony

October 18, 2009

I have written before about the young British vocal ensemble Stile Antico.  They have now recorded three gorgeous records of sacred polyphony, each one a gem.  Choirs specializing in this repertoire are not uncommon, but there is something special about Stile Antico — a certain luminosity in the sound — that is enchanting.  Here they are singing a setting of Ego flos campi by Clemens non Papa (Clemens “not the Pope”).  This live recording was done in 2008, and the piece also appeared on their most recent record, Song of Songs (which, I note, recently won the 2009 Gramophone Award for best early music recording).

Ego flos campi et lilium convallium.
Sicut lilium inter spinas sic amica mea inter filias.
Fons hortorum et puteus aquarum viventium
quae fluunt impetu de Libano.

I am the flower of the field and the lily of the valleys.
As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.
The fountain of gardens: a well of living waters,
Which run with a strong stream from Lebanon.

5 Responses to “Sunday night polyphony”

  1. Christina A. Says:

    Baby likes. She was kicking along to the music this morning.

  2. cburrell Says:

    Babies, on account of their having come from God so recently, love polyphony.

  3. KathyB Says:

    Thomas used to like Palestrina. Now he prefers the Fire Truck song. Alas, the ways of the world have corrupted him.

    I have the sheet music for a Sanctus by Clemens non Papa – I always assumed the name meant that he was an illegitimate child. Your post clears things up!

  4. cburrell Says:

    Well, he may have been illegitimate too, but that wasn’t the reason for his name. The story is that his name — or nickname, really — was to distinguish him from Pope Clement VII. He must be one of the few historical figures known to us primarily through a nickname.

    The Fire Truck song no doubt has its virtues, but with you in the house I’m sure he’ll grow to appreciate Palestrina one day.

  5. […] Natus Est – Stile Antico: I have written before (more than once) about the young British ensemble Stile Antico. In just a few short years they have […]

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